Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Faculty of Education


Music functions as an advertising 'instrument' in television commercials to enhance the marketing effectiveness of goods and services. Evaluating the effects of music on responses, however, is often intuitive, largely because of the difficulties of obtaining data uncontaminated by the visuals, and other consumer-related factors.

This study was designed to measure empirically the effects of music on responses in television commercials. To test the hypotheses, original and alternate music versions of each of three television commercials were utilised. In all three commercials the music was different between versions, and also differed in levels of musical stimulation. The alternate (experimental) versions were deemed to contain a greater amount of musical stimulation than the original (control) versions. The music for the alternate versions of the three test commercials was composed by the author, after completing a detailed musical analysis of thirty-three award-winning music tracks, written for commercials shown on Australian television. The analysis focused on the music's tonality, tempo, rhythm, melody, harmony, form, instrumentation, texture, intensity, mood and style.

The size of the sample tested numbered in excess of two thousand three hundred subjects, aged between eighteen and sixty-five. Responses to four dependent variables were compared, in the two music versions of the test commercials. The four dependent variables were reactions to the music, reactions to the visuals, desire for the product and intent to purchase. In addition, the intervening variables of gender, age and level of education were assessed for the significance of their mediating effects.

The results showed that a change in the music significantly affected responses, in all three test commercials, and that liking for the commercial was positively associated with liking for the music. Increased musical stimulation resulted in increased favourability towards the commercial, only when the music was liked. Increased musical stimulation had the opposite effect when the music was unliked. Age was found to be a significant factor affecting responses, in all three commercials. The trend showed that favourable responses increased with age. The effects of gender and level of education were not found to be significant in this study.

Owing to the fact that repeated exposure of television commercials is an integral part of the marketing process, responses to the two music versions were also compared after repetition of the commercials. The evidence provided some support for the notion that more complex music can delay commercial wearout, and by so doing, affect purchase intentions.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.